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Despite the cooling inflation, CNBC reports that food prices are going to remain high for a while. It’s frustrating, isn’t it?
That’s probably what led you to look for easy and cheap healthy meals on a budget for a family, two, or even a single person. Or maybe you’re a frugal living person, and despite the good or bad economy, you like to save money on food.
I want to let you know that even when you’re tight on money and need to eat on a budget, it’s still possible to incorporate a healthy eating lifestyle.
You can also plan your meals for the week to save money and time.
Meal planning on a budget just got tastier with these mouth-watering recipes!
The best part is you’d still be eating healthy by avoiding unnecessary junk, takeouts, and dining at restaurants. Perfect if you’re on the hunt for good cheap dinners!
I’ll always be updating this post, so click here and save THIS image to your favoirte Pinterest board – that way you can always refer back to this page to quickly grab your dinner ideas! Or pin the image below!
Quick and Easy Cheap Healthy Meals
I summed up 28 healthy and budget-friendly meals that should cost less than $5 per person.
Whether you’re in search of straightforward, inexpensive dinner ideas or healthy, budget-friendly meals for 2 or 4 people, this post offers an array of choices to suit your needs.
On average, they should cost $3 to $5 per person depending on what ingredients you buy and whether you shop for groceries on sale. It could even go up to $10 if you opt for fancier ingredients.
For example, if you choose to buy organic fruits and vegetables for your ingredients that would cost more than if you were to go with the regular stuff.
However, when you are a savvy shopper and buy food ingredients based on what’s on sale for the week, you can save a lot and still eat healthy.
There are many times I’ve scored a great deal on fresh organic fruits for less than the non-organic ones because I like to go for healthy foods that are on sale for the week.
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Here is a quick screenshot of my own Swagbucks [SB] points where I can redeem a FREE $50 Walmart grocery gift card right now for my healthy groceries this week:
I just wanted to share my little hack with you on how you can save big on fresh groceries on a weekly and monthly basis using my favorite free app.
Anyway, here are the best meatless meals that you can enjoy today. They’re all quick, easy, and budget-friendly!
Before we dive into the list, I also want to answer your most frequently asked questions about cooking cheap healthy meals.
1. What is the cheapest healthiest meal?
You can stir up the cheapest and healthiest meals when you buy foods that are on sale for the week at your local grocery stores.
Make sure to buy fresh veggies, fruits, and lean meats. It’s best to buy fruits and veggies that are in season because that’s when you can cook not only at its cheapest season but always taste much better!
Cheap foods usually contain dried legumes, whole veggies, fruits (or frozen), potatoes, and fresh-cut meats that are on sale.
2. How do you eat healthy on a low budget?
If you’re working with a low budget or you just want to save more, you can also check out my healthy grocery list on a budget post to help you buy ingredients for your meal plans.
And don’t forget to take a look at these 35+ quick and easy cheap Instant Pot recipes that you can cook with budget-friendly ingredients!
They will save you time and money if you consider freezing them just like how I do with these freezer-friendly Crockpot family meals. I included many healthy and clean eating options from chicken breast Instant Pot recipes to vegan and vegetarian choices!
3. What is the cheapest meal you can cook?
Generally speaking, the cheapest meal you can cook are usually recipes that call for beans, rice, or carby pasta.
But you can make them healthier by swapping white for whole grain or whole wheat.
On top of that, it doesn’t cost much when you decided to batch-cook and freeze them ahead of time.
This method is proven to help you save even more money than buying cheap and unhealthy processed foods from the frozen aisle of your grocery store.
Cheap Healthy Meals for a Week
So, what are some cheap healthy meals you can prepare ahead for this week?
Let’s take a look at these cheap recipes to help you feed your family!
I also highly encourage you to read this whole post to learn more about the health benefits of the foods and ingredients used in these budget-friendly healthy recipes which are good for you! 🙂
While you’re at it, you may also want to look into these cheap easy appetizers that are fancy to whip up for your family or even a crowd during a small gathering.
More related articles on cheap healthy meals:
- Easy and Cheap Ground Beef Freezer Meals
- Easy and Healthy Crock Pot Meals That Are Good Comfort Foods
- No-Meat Recipes That Even Meat Lovers Will Enjoy
- Fall Dinner Recipes and Ideas Your Family Will Fall in Love With
- Easy Low Carb Keto Casserole Recipes Your Family Will Enjoy
1. Cheap and Healthy Instant Pot Cauliflower Curry Bowl
You can do healthy budget-friendly meals when you decide to go meatless.
Ditching meat can help you save money on food and that’s why we gathered these cheapest make-ahead freezer dump meals that will please your wallet.
So don’t be afraid to try this yummy cauliflower and red lentil curry filled with healthy butternut squash. It’s freezer-friendly too!
Pair it with whole-grain brown, red, black, or wild rice for an even healthier version – we promise that this recipe won’t break the bank.
2. Cheap Crockpot Freezer Dump Meals – Healthier Lasagna
Cheap easy dinner at your service!
If you’re looking for cheap and healthy Crockpot freezer dump meals, then this delicious low-carb lasagna recipe will satisfy your hunger and budget!
Because this is freezable (for up to 1 month), you’ll manage to save time, mental energy, and effort from cooking every single day!
After all, it’s important to reserve that energy to go to work and earn a full-time income that will provide for your family.
3. Cheap Vegetarian Freezer Meal – Broccoli Quinoa Casserole
What’s more healthy than broccoli and quinoa?
The best part is you can also batch-make this casserole and freeze it for a month or two.
Cheap and healthy vegetarian freezer meals like these will steer you away from being broke. This is proof that you can still eat healthy on a reasonable budget!
4. Cheap Chinese Chicken and Broccoli Stir Fry
This delicious healthy Chinese stir fry recipe is perfect for a couple or family. Sara, the creator of this recipe says it takes only 30 minutes to prepare and cook this healthy meal. Great if you’re looking for low-fat meals on a budget!
I definitely prefer this over what you would find at the Chinese food chain! This is a healthier version without the super high fat and sodium that Chefs love to put in them. Let’s not forget how much MSG they love to use at Chinese restaurants!
This dish contains lean chicken breast which is close to no fat and high in protein.
Broccoli is very low in calories but contains a ton of nutrients and antioxidants that are healthy for you.
We recommend using this pure sesame oil, a product of Japan, for your Asian dishes!
You can side this white rice to keep a lower budget, but if you’re a health-conscious person, I recommend adding whole grain rice mixed with red rice on the side.
5. Clean Eating Chicken Chilli
Randa from The Bewitchin’ Kitchen promises that this Clean Eating Chicken Chilli Recipe will not disappoint you!
One of her secret ingredients in this chili is applesauce to add a little hint of sweetness – this particular applesauce is made from 100% fruit, and it’s gluten-free, nut-free, with no added colors or flavors!
The meal is packed with healthy nutrients including protein from the chicken and beans. It also contains red bell peppers which are low in calories but high in essential vitamins like vitamin C, B6, E, folate, and potassium.
The tomato paste which has similar nutritional value to fresh tomatoes is also a healthy source of many vitamins like lycopene, vitamin K and many B vitamins.
6. Healthy Grilled Salmon Burgers with Avocado Salsa
If you love salmon and burgers, you’ll want to try this healthy grilled salmon burger with avocado Salsa.
We also recommend using a cast iron grill pan like this one here to grill your salmon.
As mentioned, salmon is packed with many healthy essential vitamins that are good for you.
Another healthy ingredient used in this recipe is the tasty avocado!
Although most of the calories that come from the avocado contain fat, don’t fret! This popular fruit from Mexico contains a high amount of “good fats” and is actually good for your heart according to this article.
Another great thing about avocados is they tend to keep you fuller for longer hence preventing you from over eating.
7. Sweet Potato Shepherd’s Pie
Are you craving cheap healthy meals that are comforting but filled with nutrients to help you stay warm in the Fall or Wintertime?
If so, then this delicious and mouth-watering Sweet Potato Shepherd’s Pie is the perfect and inexpensive meal to make!
As you may already know, sweet potatoes are one of the healthiest foods in the world. Packed with vitamins A, C, Maganese, and lots of other good stuff, they are a few of the potatoes you’ll want to eat more of – just real wholesome and clean food!
Made with just a few simple, yet nutritious and healthy ingredients, and a load of homemade mashed sweet potatoes, you’ll have a GOOD healthy Sweet Potato Shepherd’s Pie dinner on the table in just minutes.
What you’ll love about this cheap healthy meal is that it’s SO easy to make and tasty to eat, that you and your family will want to make it over and over again!
8. Spaghetti Squash Bolognese
Cheap yet healthy noodle recipes anyone?
If you’re looking for a budget-friendly healthy meal, then this tasty spaghetti squash bolognese is a great choice! You and your family will find this dish loaded with goodness and wholesome the perfect choice for healthy weeknight dinners.
It’s thick, delicious, and filled with a ton of flavorful meat sauce!
With this healthy recipe for ground turkey vegetable spaghetti, you’ll appreciate tasting the satisfying bolognese flavors, but without all the bad calories.
On top of that, you’ll get a ton of veggies such as carrots, bell pepper, onion, and zucchini.
We recommend giving this a try, and don’t be surprised that this dish may become one of your new favorites!
9. Healthy Blueberry Spinach Smoothie
Smoothies like these cheap and healthy ones make the perfect healthy breakfast or snack! You could even have them as a dessert after dinner.
I love how home-made smoothies are tasty and it doesn’t cost a lot to make. If anything, this Blueberry Spinach Smoothie by Kristine is healthier and cheaper than expensive franchise chains that cost almost $7 to $10 per drink!
Blueberries and all sorts of berries are very healthy and good for you. They are low in calories but are high in fiber, vitamin C and K. According to this article, blueberries are believed to have one of the highest antioxidant levels of all common fruits and vegetables.
This refreshing drink makes a perfect smoothie if you’re looking for a recipe that doesn’t contain any bananas. The fiber from the oats and protein from the Greek yogurt will keep you fuller for longer.
I definitely recommend giving this a try!
10. Meatless Black Bean Burger
We can all use a juicy vegetarian burger!
If you’re looking for cheap Meatless Monday recipes or your goal is to eat less meat in general, there are a ton of healthy and delicious options to choose from!
One cheap and healthy recipe we recommend, giving it a two thumbs up, is this black bean burger!
Not only does it taste amazing, but it’s a wonderful way to cut back on meat and still feel full and satisfied afterward. This meatless burger is loaded with black beans giving you that delicious intake of protein, which is good for building and repairing your muscles.
This meat-free burger still contains tons of flavor, and you can top them with your favorite vegetables like tomatoes, lettuce, and avocado.
Try one of these today and we guarantee that you’ll be coming back to make more for your meatless meals!
11. Budget-Friendly Roasted Creamy Carrot Soup
Carrots are packed with tons of healthy nutrients and essential vitamins like A, Biotin, K1, Potassium, and B6. They are one of the healthiest you can eat and the beauty is they are inexpensive to buy too!
Since carrots are cheap and healthy, we recommend making this creamy carrot soup one of your go-to winter staples. Especially when you’re feeling cold and chilly during the holiday season.
If you want to feel full, then add a variety of your favorite beans or legumes (pinto, black, chickpeas, etc.), which are packed with healthy proteins.
You’ll love this easy roasted carrot soup with garlic, cumin, and Greek yogurt to make the texture creamy. Not to mention, Greek yogurt contains a lot of protein so it will help keep your tummy full for longer.
What we love about this recipe is it’s easy to make, healthy (of course), and makes a great leftover nutritious meal for lunches and dinners all week long – perfect for you if you like to meal prep for the week!
12. Healthy Spinach and Feta Pizza
If you’re looking for another meat-free dinner for your Meatless Monday recipes, then add this quick and easy Feta and Spinach Pizza to the list!
This light and healthy pizza is a low-fat version that is guaranteed to still satisfy your tummy and taste buds.
Despite being huge meat lovers, we promise that after trying this recipe, you won’t be craving any meat for the day!
It’s loaded with flavor but super quick and easy to throw together. The ingredient list is short and sweet – garlic, cherry tomatoes, chili flakes, spinach, olive oil, pesto, and feta cheese – but the simple flavors work so well together.
You’re going to love this special one-of-a-kind of homemade pizza!
13. Healthy Lemon Garlic Salmon within a Budget
This healthy and tasty lemon garlic salmon recipe by Six Sisters’ Stuff is perfect for any season.
Are salmon recipes considered as cheap healthy meals?
Salmon is very healthy but often seen as expensive especially when you buy them fresh. However, you can shop the frozen aisle for some great deals.
Note that “fresh” fish may not always be better than frozen.
You may also want to look for wild salmon instead of farmed because wild salmon is generally better for your health if you have the budget. To save money and eat healthy on a budget, I often shop for frozen wild salmon that’s on sale.
According to Health Line, unregulated and irresponsible use of antibiotics in farmed salmon is a problem in the aquaculture industry, especially in developing countries.
Whether it’s fresh, frozen, farmed or wild, salmon is still jammed pack with many healthy nutrients such as:
- Omega-3 fatty acids (reduces inflammation and lowers blood pressure)
- Protein (healthy for bones and prevents muscle loss)
- Vitamin B (good for controlling inflammation and protecting the heart and brain)
- Potassium (controls blood pressure)
14. Healthy Vegan Stuffed Potatoes with Quinoa
There are tons of potato recipes that won’t break your bank. They are used in many cheap healthy meals that are both tasty and satisfying to your stomach.
You may know that potatoes are extremely cheap (when they go on sale, you could get a BIG bag for about $2) and are generally touted as “food for the poor” which makes them one of the most underrated healthy foods.
And no, this doesn’t include those unhealthy fried and processed potatoes like fries and chips.
PRO TIP: You may want to consider choosing red or purple potatoes over the white or yellow Yukon. Red and purple potatoes are generally healthier and more nutritious. You can also consider adding sweet potatoes into your diet since they taste great and a good source of vitamins A, C, B6, B5, potassium, and manganese.
Health Line states “many nutrients are contained in the peel of the potato, so consuming both the skin and flesh maximizes the amount of fiber, vitamins, and minerals in each serving.”
They also added that “baking, boiling and steaming potatoes are the best choices in terms of minimizing their fat and calorie contents, compared to frying.”
Again, potatoes are very budget-friendly and if you want to make them healthier, consider baking them like this vegan stuffed potato with quinoa – a healthy food that’s gluten-free and high in protein.
15. Cheap and Healthy Chicken Salad Recipe with Grapes
This fast and healthy chicken salad by Kristine is super easy and fast to make!
You can plan many cheap healthy meals just from this bowl of chicken salad.
Eat it alone in a salad bowl, make a sandwich or create a healthy wrap. This makes it convenient to pack for lunch or to grab quickly after a long day from work.
As you may already know, chicken breast is full of protein and if you don’t feel that you’re getting enough protein, then I suggest trying Kristine’s recommendation of adding plain Greek yogurt instead of mayo.
Plain Greek yogurt is high in protein which is essential to cell growth, building muscles and repairing tissues. Another healthy essential in yogurt is calcium which you all know is good for bone health.
Adding grapes into this mix will ensure that you’re including fruits into your diet. Grapes contain many important vitamins and minerals such as vitamins C and K.
Another thing that you may not know about grapes is that although they contain high sugars, they may still decrease blood sugar levels and protect against diabetes due to compounds found in them according to this article.
16. Apple Walnut Spinach Salad
Most salads are flooded with fat creamy and high-calorie sauces that defeat the purpose of eating healthy in the first place.
But if you’re looking for something that’s tasty and healthy at the same time, then this Apple Walnut Spinach Salad by Chrissie would make a great choice for lunch or in-between snack!
Spinach is very low in calories but is rich in vitamins A, C, K1, and iron. If you want to increase your iron intake, then consider sprinkling some pumpkin seeds in this salad recipe.
Another great ingredient included here is the apple. Apples are inexpensive fruits so you can choose to load them up. They always say, “An apple a day keeps the doctor away.” J
Apples are rich in many important vitamins that may be good for your heart. They can also keep you fuller due to the high content of fiber.
17. Pineapple Spinach Salad
If you’re a fan of spinach, then here’s another healthy spinach salad for you!
This Pineapple Spinach Salad would make the perfect lunch or snack in the summertime when pineapples are in season. Generally, fruits that are in season are cheaper and taste much better!
As we already mentioned, spinaches are super healthy and contain a lot of essential nutrients.
Pineapples are another healthy food as they are packed with a variety of vitamins and minerals. They are especially rich in vitamin C and manganese.
According to Health Line sources, this sweet tropical fruit is a good source of antioxidants and may reduce the risk of heart disease and diabetes when taken in moderation.
Having that said, go ahead and add pineapples to your salads and other meals!
18. Cheap and Healthy Chicken Noodle Soup
No one can complain about cheap healthy meals like this one here.
This classic chicken noodle soup will never go out of style and it’s the perfect meal for those cold winter days.
I prefer making my own chicken soup at home because the ones served at restaurants, food chains, and store-bought are not very healthy. They tend to load the soup base with sodium and artificial flavor and that’s why I love the home-made version because I can control what ingredients to use.
Kathleen’s healthy ingredients include:
- Lean chicken breast
- Diced carrots
I love that the classic bowl of chicken soup includes carrots!
Carrots are low in calories but are packed with healthy stuff. They’re rich in fiber and loaded with essential vitamins and minerals such as biotin (promotes nail and hair growth), potassium, vitamin A and B6.
As you may all know, this orange vegetable is good for eye health due to the high level of vitamin A or carotenoids.
Now that you know carrots are good for you, don’t hesitate to add extra into your chicken noodle soup!
If you’re into healthy eating, I recommend using whole-grain pasta over regular.
19. Chicken Lime Soup
If you’re feeling a little hot and spicy, you can try this healthy mouth-watering Chicken Lime Soup.
It’s definitely got a little kick to it but if you prefer mild, Beth from Budget Bytes recommends ditching the jalapeño.
With chicken, you’ll gain a good amount of low-fat protein. As mentioned earlier, avocadoes are healthy and contain good fats and will help keep you fuller for longer.
20. Light Beef Stew
Beef stew is one of my favorite recipes and I have it at least once every two weeks.
The great thing about beef stew is that they’re quite healthy, quick and easy to make. I also tend to eat chicken breast a lot so to switch things up, I would look for recipes with beef.
Consuming too much red meat, in general, is not healthy and that’s why I eat in moderation and try to go for the leanest beef possible.
Beef, in general, contains a lot of rich minerals like protein and iron.
As you may know, eating beef can help prevent iron deficiency and that’s why it may be beneficial for those with anemia to add beef into their diets.
PRO TIP: Add a home-made freshly squeezed glass of orange juice for vitamin C. Alternatively you could just eat a whole orange after your meal. Health sources say that the intake of vitamin C along with foods rich in iron helps absorb the iron content.
I usually add fewer potatoes and more carrots, celery, and peas to reduce its calorie content. I’m highly confident that you’ll still feel full from the beef and carrots!
21. Garlic Beef and Broccoli Lo Mein
If you would like another beef recipe for more iron, then try this Garlic Beef and Broccoli Lo Mein meal by Alyssa.
Adding a healthy vegetable like broccoli which is rich in vitamin C can help your body absorb the iron. The content of vitamin C in broccoli is comparable to an orange.
As I always say, if you prefer a healthier alternative, you can substitute whole grain spaghetti instead of white or the regular lo mein.
22. Chicken Pesto Pasta
If you’re looking for cheap healthy meals, then this delicious mouth-watering chicken pesto dish made with whole-grain pasta by Erin is a must-try!
Are you concerned about the high calories from cheese? You can always adjust ingredients to your liking. For example, you can reduce the cheese and make your own home-made pesto sauce.
Many healthy ingredients in Erin’s recipe include:
- Lean chicken breast
- Whole grain pasta
- Cherry tomatoes
- Mozzarella cheese
- Greek yogurt
- Fresh basil
23. Grilled Chicken and Asparagus Pesto Pasta
Another tasty and healthy pesto pasta recipe to consider is Danae’s Grilled Chicken and Asparagus Pesto Pasta.
Asparagus may be known for making your pee smell weird but it is considered a very healthy vegetable.
The health benefits of this vegetable could help you avoid feeling bloated, improve digestive health, and boost your overall mood according to Health.com.
I love adding asparagus to a lot of my dishes due to their low calories but high nutrients including folate, vitamin A, C, and K.
Plus, I love how asparagus is inexpensive and you could even get it for cheaper when you buy them on sale. It’s super simple to prepare and makes a delicious addition to all sorts of meals and recipes such as this chicken pesto pasta.
24. $5 Healthy Sardine Mediterranean Salad
Often bypassed for their humble price tag, sardines are an unsung hero in the culinary world.
Why should it matter if they’ve earned the moniker of a “poor man’s food”? Their real value lies in the abundance of vital nutrients they carry. From a robust array of B vitamins to the sunlight-derived goodness of vitamin D3, these tiny sea dwellers are brimming with health benefits.
But the true pièce de résistance? Sardines effortlessly satisfy your daily calcium requirement without you lifting a finger! Now that’s what I call a cheap and healthy nutritious meal under $5!
25. Mediterranean Baked Sweet Potatoes
If you’re on the hunt for the best cheap healthy recipes, then don’t discard the potatoes.
Seeking a healthier alternative? Consider opting for sweet potatoes or yams. While still considered budget-friendly foods, they’re slightly more expensive than their cousins, the white potatoes.
What I adore about sweet potatoes is their culinary versatility – you can incorporate them into salads, soups, or simply enjoy them solo, as in this scrumptious baked dish right here.
26. Easy Homemade Healthy Ramen Bowls
Move over, instant noodles! You may get a bad rap because you’re not known by the more prestigious name “ramen,” but that’s about to change. This bowl of healthful ramen noodles will warm both your soul and heart, all without straining your wallet.
Enhance your dish with eggs and a sprinkle of black sesame seeds to supplement your protein intake. After all, we don’t want to rely solely on carbs, right?
27. Canned Salmon Pasta
Salmon is packed with healthy fats and calcium, including B and D vitamins – what other foods can boast such nutritional density?
Alright, you’ve caught me there – sardines are an exception.
But if you’re weary of sardines and feel like splurging a bit more, consider swapping them for canned salmon. You can go for wild-caught salmon if you’re feeling a little more health-conscious. It still ranks as a healthy and budget-friendly alternative.
28. Healthy One-Pot Pasta Recipe
This healthy one-pot pasta recipe isn’t merely an effortless go-to meal for busy weeknights or hectic weekends; it’s also an excellent choice for those seeking Meatless Monday options!
Toss in some pasta, add a variety of veggies, and if you fancy, sprinkle a bit of cheese.
Finish it off with your desired pasta sauce, be it tomato or pesto. This is a low-prep, nutrient-rich meal that’s ready in approximately 35 minutes.